GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis Municipal Judge Eric Mulford and Robin Harris, executive director of the Gallia-Jackson-Meigs Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health (ADAMH), recently announced the agencies have funded a peer recovery support initiative for clients of the municipal court’s pre-trial services program and specialized dockets.
According to a news release from Judge Mulford’s office and the G-J-M Board of ADAMH, the initiative is designed as a one-year pilot program that will continue long-term if successful. The primary purpose is to provide a full-time peer recovery supporter to individuals participating in pre-trial services and specialized dockets, such as drug court. The peer recovery supporter will intervene with non-violent, misdemeanor level defendants to develop realistic, effective and measurable plans to achieve successful outcomes in their cases, and will also serve Gallia County residents preparing for release from a misdemeanor jail sentence back into the local community.
Mulford said that the initiative comes at no cost to the taxpayers and with no expenditures from the general fund budget. The court, with the approval of the ADAMH board, has dedicated a surplus of dollars in its indigent driver treatment fund, which is funded by statute from portions of fines in OVI cases, to pay for the program.
The peer recovery supporter will be an employee of TASC of Southeast Ohio, which Mulford said is a nod to the late Dennis Johnson, an administrator with TASC, who long advocated for a full-time employee dedicated to the municipal court to assist a caseload of moderate to high-risk, high-need clients.
“A substantial number of our moderate to high-risk defendants have an addiction, a mental illness, have suffered some type of trauma, or have other environmental factors that require intensive intervention in order to achieve stability. Therefore, we strive to provide each individual with resources to make positive changes in his or her life, including from a jail re-entry perspective, with a goal of reducing recidivism and ultimately improving public safety,” Mulford said. “This is another tool that we can use to make the community better and safer, and I am excited to see what outcomes we can all achieve together.”
In recent years, the ADAMH Board has contributed funds to assist local drug courts with costs of treatment, medications and additional staff. “We were very pleased when Judge Mulford proposed the addition of a Peer Recovery Supporter to the Gallipolis Municipal Drug Court,” said Director Harris. “Across the nation, the use of Peer Recovery Supporters has proven to be quite effective. We are excited to see this service added within our community.”
Ultimately, the employment of a peer recovery supporter will allow the court’s probation officers to spend more time focusing on enforcement of bail conditions and probation terms rather than case management for pre-trial, drug court and re-entry clients.
The providers assisting with the court’s pre-trial services, specialized docket, and jail re-entry programs include TASC, Health Recovery Services, Step Stone Initiatives, Field of Hope Community Campus, and Hopewell Health Centers. Mulford said the corrections division of Gallia County Sheriff Matt Champlin’s office has also been a tremendous help in developing and improving the court’s community-based initiatives.
For more information about the municipal court, see the court’s website at gmcourt.org, or call the Bailiff at (740) 446-9400, Ext. 222.
This article provided by the office of Judge Mulford and the Gallia-Jackson-Meigs Board of ADAMH.